In today’s world of sales and commerce, more and more consumers are looking to their peers as well as influencers for product recommendations. While the advent of social media may make this new marketing landscape seem foreign, it is facilitating a tried-and-true method of marketing: word-of-mouth. Since advertising and marketing began, word-of-mouth marketing has always been a powerful strategy for drawing in new consumers.
Ultimately, a potential car buyer is more likely to trust the recommendations of a neighbor or even a social media influencer over a company’s sales ad. Here are a few vital statistics that reveal how crucial word-of-mouth marketing and personal recommendations are to the sales process:
- Eighty-three percent of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family and friends about products and services.
- Seventy-one percent of consumers are more likely to purchase when referred by social media.
- Forty-nine percent of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchasing decisions.
It is clear that consumers care about what others think, and they let it influence their purchasing decisions. This reason is why it is crucial to enlist the help of an influencer or brand ambassador for dealership marketing.
These individuals can significantly help you level-up your marketing strategy and reach your target audience. However, how do you go about utilizing one, and what should you know about what they do? Read our takeaways below.
The Difference Between an Influencer and Brand Ambassador
Before you begin searching through your preferred social media platform for one of these individuals, it is crucial to understand the difference between the two. Brand ambassadors are individuals who have already purchased from you. They are happy with what you offer and are willing to fill their audiences in about what you offer organically. The relationship with these individuals is long-term, and they typically are not seeking any monetary gain or incentive, they are just invested in your brand and want to spread the word.
Influencers are a bit different. These are individuals who have a large following and are typically paid to post about a product or service. A relationship with these individuals is more short-term (you will usually pay them by the post), and they may have never purchased a car from you or used your services.
A brand ambassador likely has more attachment to your brand, while an influencer will probably have a more substantial following to share your message with.
How Do You Find These Individuals?
Because of the nature of the relationship, you will likely connect with a brand ambassador and influencer in different ways. For the former, this will probably be a customer you have a longstanding relationship with. So, this is where your CRM will come into play. You can cross-reference your long-time customers with individuals who post about you on social media. Influencers will be a bit easier to find, but more challenging to reach out to for a connection. You can use programs like BuzzSumo or BuzzStream to find influencers in the automotive or dealership industry that have a following.
The Benefits of Using Influencers and Brand Ambassadors
Be associated with their authority – Both influencers and brand ambassadors are known for having authority on a topic and partnering with these individuals allows you to also benefit from their credibility and expertise on trends related to the automotive industry and dealerships.
Take advantage of user-generated content – Influencers and ambassadors are now “users” of your product, and they can create content that doesn’t make customers feel as if someone is trying to sell them something. This can significantly benefit your brand as 85 percent of website visitors find visual user-generated content more influential than brand photos or video.
Attract new customers – These individuals can reach unique audiences that have not yet found your dealership. They may have a specific geographical reach or may have better access to one particular demographic. Either way, influencers and brand ambassadors have the platform to reach customers that you may not interact with daily.
They can help increase your authenticity – Again, stats show that these individuals are seen as trustworthy by consumers. They are looked to for expert recommendations and opinions about products. So, they are excellent for getting consumers to also see your brand as authentic and trustworthy.
These advantages scratch the surface of what these individuals can bring to your digital marketing strategy. However, it is always important to weigh any potential cons and disadvantages of enlisting the help of these individuals. From costs to contracts, make sure you are aware of how to financially and legally create a professional relationship with a brand ambassador or influencer.
If utilized effectively, influencers and brand ambassadors can expose your brand to new audiences. Today, customer reviews and recommendations reign supreme in the mind of audiences. As a result, influencers and brand ambassadors allow you to truly take advantage of this new and innovative world where the influence of word-of-mouth has become digital.